Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vegan Hamentashen

To revisit the Adventures with Sourdough post from two weeks ago, creATE reader Sam S. suggested the following to bake lighter and more flavorful sourdough bread:

  • Work for a moister and more pliable dough
  • “Retard” the dough by putting it in the refrigerator for several hours during the second rise
On my second attempt at sourdough bread, I followed Sam’s suggestions, making sure my dough was moist and pliable after mixing all the ingredients and let the dough sit in the refrigerator for approximately 6 hours during the second rise.  I extended the baking time during the second (375 degrees with no water) phase to 50 minutes, although this could be an inconsistency with my apartment’s oven.

Sure enough, the bread was much better, and gone within 24 hours.  Thanks, Sam!

The Jewish holiday Purim begins tonight at sundown.  I’ve always enjoyed Purim because it’s one of the happiest holidays, celebrating the Jews being saved from extermination by the Persians.  Along with reading the story of Purim, dressing up in costume, and engaging in age-appropriate festivities, my favorite aspect of Purim is the tradition of giving money or food to charity and delivering small gifts of food to family and friends.  I love this tradition because we are commanded to be happy and community-friendly in one great day.

For Eastern European Jews, it’s custom to eat hamentashen, triangular-shaped cookies filled with fruit, poppy seeds, or chocolate.  This cookie is symbolic of the three-cornered hat that the Purim story’s villain, Haman, wore in the story.

Jewish holidays, as with holidays in many cultures, can be challenging for vegans, and I struggled to find a recipe for vegan hamentashen and an even more difficult time finding a vegan chocolate filling, which is my all-time favorite flavor.

After scanning through several recipes that looked unreliable, I tweaked the most promising version I could find for creATE.  Enjoy! (And share with your friends.)

Vegan Hamentashen
2 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable oil spread (such as Earth Balance)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soymilk

Your choice of filling.  Suggestions include: any flavor fruit preserves or butter (blueberry and cherry are my personal favorites), pie filling, chocolate (see filling recipe below), or vegan cream cheese.

  1. Mix together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, cream the vegetable oil spread, brown sugar and soymilk.  Mix in the dry ingredients.  Chill dough for 6 hours or overnight.
  3. On a floured surface, roll dough ¼ inch thick.  Use a 3-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut circles in the dough.  Place a small amount of filling in the center of each circle.  Pinch three corners of the dough to form a triangular-shaped cookie with a small hole in the center.
  4. Bake on a lightly oiled cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.

Vegan Chocolate Filling
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup flour
½ cup soymilk
½ cup brown sugar or other natural sweetener
¼ cup vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until blended.


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